Sunday, July 19, 2015

Homily - 16th Sunday OT - Come, Rest A While

There are many themes in today's Readings, but I'm focusing on the one the Lord has been sharing with me over the last few months.
I am sure we all know what the initials “RIP” stand for when we see them on a tombstone.  It stands for “Rest in Peace”. (Not - Rise If Possible!)
For you and me, if we wore a T-shirt with the big letters RIP – they most likely stand for “Rest If Possible”. In our society, we are plagued with busyness.
In fact, we can be so busy that RIP can also mean “Ripped Into Pieces”.
Maybe that is why we look forward to Vacations and Summer. We want to get away from it all, to have some rest and some peace. And yet we carry along our mobile devices so as to be connected to the world.
We are always busy; we are always “on the go”. But where are we going?
Today’s Gospel invites us to discover the importance of resting in the Lord.
The Apostles were retuning from their first mission of healing, teaching and preaching. There were exhilarated, but they were also hungry, exhausted, and in need of rest, both physical and spiritual.
And that’s when Jesus jammed on the brakes and told them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while."
When we think about it, rest and peace are so elusive, aren’t they?
For example, parents will never rest from their responsibilities, and they will always worry about their grown up children.
Those who are sick long for a good night’s rest without pain.
Those who have done something wrong long for peace and reconciliation.
So, what is it that Jesus is teaching us in the Gospel?
Life is about getting to know God, loving God and serving God.
We all need silence and space for ourselves and also for God.  We need to rest in the Lord with our heart - to meditate and contemplate His presence.
We need to give ourselves - Times with God.  TIMES
Sometimes we do not know how to be still and listen, and we deny God the chance to recharge us or to give us His Peace!
Prayer, Silence, and Adoration are essentially being with God, listening to God and talking with Him.
Allowing God the opportunity to be with us and recharge us with spiritual energy and strength is important. Always being aware of His Presence..
We can focus on bringing God into our Times as opposed to waiting to find the time.  Start with:
Ø      5 or 10 min or silence each day.
Ø      Bring God into all that you Do - each endeavor.
Ø      Stop and Pray and be aware of God
Ø      While in a line or waiting at a Light say a Hail Mary
Ø      Thought, smile, wink to God in midst of your activity.
Ø      Thank you for sunset, beauty, person in your life.
Ø      Make your life a Blessing to God by how you live it.
The Lord speaks powerfully to us in His Love Letter (Bible), when we spend time each day meditating on the message God gives us it will open our hearts.
Too much constant activity without rest and we cannot function.  We must be Re-Created from time to time.
We need to rest and to re-energize just as Jesus intended to do together with His apostles.
My Dear Friends, let us remind ourselves that Christian life consists of meeting with God in the secret place of our heart, so that we may serve people more effectively in the market place of the world.
Yet like Jesus whose heart was moved by the crowd, we can make ourselves available when really needed.
In doing so, we may be able to pattern ourselves after the Good Shepherd Himself, Jesus, who surely will be pleased with us.
Close with Isaiah 41:10
Do not be afraid: I am with you;
    do not be discourage for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you,
    I will uphold you up with my victorious right hand.
Praise Be Jesus Christ, Now and Forever, Amen!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Homily - 14th Sunday OT - Prophetic Courage

Homily For 14th Week of Ordinary Time

This weekend we remember the birth of our nation. We are grateful for our country and we want to be good citizens. The best thing we can do to become better citizens is to be better Christians.

In the First reading, God sends Ezekiel to his chosen people. But he does not call them “my people,” but “rebels who have rebelled against me.” Go and tell them what I have to say!
In the Gospel, we see the people from his home town rebel again Jesus. 
Who does he think he is?  We know him; he is only a carpenter and Mary’s son.  He is just a common worker.  How could someone so familiar to us be a prophet?
Today's Readings gives us the warning that as Christians who accept the call of Jesus and seek to follow him, we also may face indifference, hostility, and rejection, but we should have prophetic courage.
By our Baptism, God calls us to be prophets like Jesus, sharing his prophetic mission. The task of a prophet is to speak God’s truth. We must never be afraid of this call.  We rely on Jesus to supply us with the courage to proclaim and live God's Plan in our society.
I wonder how many of you have read Cardinal Donald Wuerl's excellent article on the recent Supreme Court ruling on Marriage.  
He makes some very interesting points:
"The revealed Word of God is still what it was before the Supreme Court decision. Marriage is the life-long union of a man and a woman given for the purpose of their mutual good and for the procreation and education of children."
This got me thinking about other Supreme Court Rulings:
The Word of God was still what it was before the Supreme Court ruled in 1857 that:
  1. African Americans, whether enslaved or free, could not be American citizens.
  2. That slavery was a specially protected property under the Constitution;
The Word of God was still what it was before the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that abortion is a fundamental right under the United States Constitution.
The Word of God was still what it was when the Roman Empire imposed Anti-Christian policies over a period of 3 centuries, until 313 when Christianity was legalized.
As I reflected on the Readings and Cardinal Wuerl's words, I realized his words apply to many of the issues we are facing in our society today.
Cardinal Wuerl went on to say that "Because Jesus came to save all people, all are invited to be a part of God’s family – his Church... It is the home for all who seek to follow Jesus as his disciple. This welcome is extended to everyone." If the Church were to welcome only those without sin, it would be empty."
You have heard the saying The Church is not club for saints but a hospital for sinners.  Welcome to the St. Patrick Parish Hospital, here you can find Healing, Mercy and Forgiveness!
Cardinal Wuerl continues, "Catholic teaching exhorts every believer to treat all people with respect, compassion, sensitivity, and love. All are called to walk with Jesus and so all who try to do so have a place in the Church.
Sacred Scripture and Church teaching call us both to recognize our human dignity and also to live according to God’s plan.”
"At the same time, to condemn any sin is not discrimination against the person who commits the sin. Disagreement is not discrimination. We do not force people to agree with us, we ask to be granted the same freedom to hold our beliefs.
Catholic teaching on human sexuality is the same for all. We are called to love God and love one another in truth."
Cardinal Wuerl makes another excellent point, "All Christians have the responsibility to learn and to grow in their faith in order to share it with others. We should be able to explain what we believe and why we hold it.
This means taking up the challenge to be better informed on Church teaching and why such belief is part of the vision rooted in Gospel values. This is all the more important when we find the teaching difficult."
We witness with our lives.... May the world see that to follow the Lord Jesus, to be a member of His Church, makes a difference.  
To Learn more on how to enrich marriage and become more informed in our faith, View the Visible Sign Website, our Beloved and/or Symbolon Series on our Website, and attend the many Deanery Offerings.
Note: For Beloved/Symbolon you can just watch the Videos
and gain good information!
As the 1st reading puts it, Go and tell them what I (the Lord) have to say! Whether they listen or not, they must know that there is a prophet among them.
May God’s law of love be proclaimed and practiced first and foremost at home and in the family.
The only way we’ll ever know the validity of what Jesus taught is to live what He taught.
We need to speak the truth of Christ with love, never being hypocritical or disrespectful. We must never remain silent for fear of being thought "politically incorrect."
However, We can be kind, charitable, and honest and forgiving as we speak forth as Jesus did in the synagogue.
Praise Be Jesus Christ, Now and Forever, Amen!